Interim council to run UPNG affairs: Niningi


AN interim council will be appointed to run the affairs of the University of UPNG for 12 months, according to the Minister for Higher Education, Research, Science and Technology Minister Pila Niningi.
Niningi said the academic year would proceed as scheduled, and the proposed increase in compulsory fees would be reviewed.
“Fees will not be increased until UPNG can provide a credible justification for any fee increases while assuring me that UPNG is not wasting public funds through mismanagement,” he said.
“The autonomy of the university to manage its own academic activities is not affected.” Included in the terms of reference for the interim council, which is yet to be named, is to appoint a new acting vice-chancellor “as soon as possible”, with a mandate to reduce financial and academic mismanagement and misconduct at UPNG.
The interim council will also ensure university stakeholders, staff, students and the public understand the reasons for establishing an interim council to tackle “alleged fraud and misconduct” at UPNG.
It will review the probity and integrity of the most recent processes for appointing a new vice-chancellor and, if necessary, establish a new process to ensure transparency and fairness. It will also be tasked to provide a “model for good governance of a university, using a Governance Charter to guide practice”.
It will also develop a business model for UPNG.
The council will “take action, through the acting vice-chancellor, to secure UPNG records and resources from unauthorised use, removal or destruction by the former Chancellor, former council members, former acting vice-chancellor or other current or former staff of UPNG.
The council will also “identify all allegations of fraud or corruption that have not yet been properly investigated, and appoint qualified experts to investigate them, and take all necessary disciplinary action and or other proceedings as required”.
“Included in this requirement is the investigation of members of UPNG management who are alleged to have committed fraud against the university and who may need to be suspended from duties while under investigation.”
It will then facilitate the independent investigation to be conducted by the Finance Department investigation team into allegations of property fraud at UPNG.